In hospitals and elderly care centres, residents often suffer from less access to daylight because of illness or mobility issues. Spending long time indoors may disrupt sleep patterns. In particular, patients with dementia and other cognitive illnesses are vulnerable to loss of daylight.
Healthcare environments are well suited to implement lighting cycles containing sunrise, sunset and daylight simulations. The effects on the patients or residents are higher activity levels during daytime, better sleep at night, shorter recovery times and reduced intake of anti-depressants.
Demographic trends have given rise to the increase in the number of dementia patients: age is to some extent the greatest risk factor for dementia. Although many dementia patients may initially remain in their own familiar environment, the need for care increases with the progression of the disease.
Especially in the winter months, the amount of daylight exposure is insufficient for adequate control of the circadian rhythm in many elderly people because they increasingly stay indoors. This not only has negative consequences for the residents’ cognition, but also impairs their wake-sleep rhythms.
Artificial lighting can compensate for the biologically active effects of insufficient daylight exposure and thereby stabilise the sleep-wake rhythm. This may lead to more restorative sleep and thus ultimately improve the mental and emotional condition, i.e. wellbeing of the residents. The lighting may also positively affect agitation, eating habits and communication.Benefits to the residents:
Benefits to the staff:
- Prevent mood fluctuations and depressions.
- Stabilization of the circadian rhythm.
- The emotional and physical well-being improves as a result of restful nights.
- Reduction of sleep-inducing drugs.
- Lack of daylight is balanced and counteracts insomnia.
- Improved well-being of the employees.
- Freeing personnel because residents experience activity and resting phases at the right time.
- More relaxed in the evening with fewer headaches and less tired eyes.
- Motivation of staff by knowing that the residents are given individualised care.